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52 weeks in, Portland’s Thursday Night Ride is rolling stronger than ever

Posted by on April 8th, 2016 at 10:17 am


(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

80-degree temps brought out a huge crowd to the Thursday Night Ride (called “TNR” by the regulars) last night. I hadn’t been since October and I wanted to be there as a witness to history. Last night’s ride was #52, as in the 52nd week in a row that people have come together to ride bikes on the streets of Portland.

Last night was TNR’s first anniversary.

If you’ve ever tried to build a movement or been involved with street activism you know how hard it is to keep something going every single week for an entire year. That’s why I’m happy to report that TNR is here to stay and its spirit and purpose has never been stronger. In many ways it holds a similar place in the local bike scene as critical mass once did but without all the radical politics and police presence. It’s where anyone who likes to ride bikes can show up and find acceptance and friendship. It’s where less confident riders can feel what researchers and advocates call “safety in numbers.” And it’s an event you can rely on because it happens on the same day (Thursday), at the same time (7:00 pm) and at the same place (Salmon Street Fountain) every week.

Organizers says positivity is paramount. Here’s how ride founder Nathan Jones (of Ride Yr Bike bike shop) lays out the vibe and rules:

Thursday Night, the streets are ours. Come one, come all! Bring yr bike and your enthusiasm!!! We are going to RIDE, nice and easy in a big chill group. Slow pace, taking the main streets in the inner city, through downtown and around the main streets of N, NE, and SE. There will be a beer/snack/restroom stop near the end of the ride.

We are out to have fun, to celebrate life. We are out to get bikes into the street. Bring your friends, bring your excitement!!!


Rule #1 No complaining about the rules
Rule #2 Don’t be a jerk
Rule #3 Pack out all waste
Rule #4 Stay behind the ride leader
Rule #5 Don’t play chicken with oncoming traffic in any capacity
Rule #6 Don’t overtake cars, stay with the group behind vehicles
Rule #7 Be especially attentive if you are at the front of the pack
Rule #8 You not only represent the group, you represent my bike shop, see Rule #2
Rule #9 Newer riders, slower riders, and people who are chill by default roll at the front

Mutual respect is the law of the land. Respect each other and respect yourself! Make sure everyone gets home SAFE. We are out to bring positivity!

It should be noted that, unlike critical mass, TNR stops at red lights. That might be because the goal of this ride isn’t to make a statement to people who are driving, it’s about enjoying our streets with other bike riders in a safe and positive environment. In other words its purpose is internal, not external.

As usual the ride massed at Salmon Street Fountain. As the crowd thickened I walked around and talked to as many people as I could. I chatted with several old friends who I’ve seen at similar events over the years; but I also met a bunch of people. They were so much different the crowd you see at many other group bike rides in Portland. They were diverse in every way: skin color, fashion sense, body type, bike style, age, and so on. It was very refreshing to see all these new faces at a completely grassroots, unsanctioned, mass bike ride!

The presence of the people in the photos below is proof that TNR is living up to its goals:

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And the crowd was very solid. Probably a few hundred people – enough to easily fill up the entire roadway for a block or two. We rode on Naito then up the ramp to the Morrison Bridge and onto SE Belmont. I peeled away and headed home at that point but the group rode over to Hawthorne and then ended up on the Waterfront for a post-ride chill session.

Here are a few shots of the crowd:

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Big thanks to the leaders in our community who have made this ride happen every week. It’s an essential piece of the foundation of cycling in Portland and I hope it never stops.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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sorenGerald FittipaldiJ.E.RushHourAlleycatKris Recent comment authors
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No cargo bikes though? I always hope.


Great photos, Jonathan! TNR is s much fun, especially the bonfire at the end!


What a good-looking and happy group! This is such a positive addition to the PDX bike fun world.


Thanks for coming out, Jonathan, so great to see you!


About how long does the ride go for? 7pm – 8pm?


Thanks for the write up, Jonathan! I love seeing how many females were out on the ride last night. I would love to see more! Female presences are always welcome!!


That looks like a lot of fun!! Thanks for the post!


Yes, that was me in the Metrofiets, being carted around by Ross. We were indeed training for the Ladd’s 500! See you there! If you haven’t gone on a TNR, I hope these great pictures from Jonathon inspire you to come out!


awww TNR my favorite people! Sad to have missed this one as I was at Heathers: The Musical. Hope to be back next week!


So that’s what the fire is every Thursday under the Hawthorne when I bike by. I never had an issue passing by until last night. Many people were blocking the path, standing around, drinking, etc. I thought this group would know better, disappointing.

Goff V
Goff V

Wow. Great photos, and really, really dig the diversity of people. Always wanted to go, but never have. Will certainly join in now.

Mariana Mo
Mariana Mo

What a wonderful note on TNR! Very refreshing to learn how TNR is viewed, and to know that are accomplishing what we set out to pursue. The pictures are amazing as well. Thank you Jonathan for coming out!! Thank you everyone that makes TNR possible by coming out and riding with us.


1st BBQ of the year went slower than I anticipated last night so I didn’t make it, by far one of my favorite rides. Much better than the handful of Critical Mass rides I rode in back in the 90’s. It’s about fun and is organic. It doesn’t come with all the cop/driver drama that the CM rides actively pursued.

If you haven’t ridden it, do yourself a favor and ride it. The best part is there is no hurry, it’s there every week.


Wait what? Portland invented bike rides just last year? What was that ten years ago when we all cruised around together on those whelled things?

Gerald Fittipaldi
Gerald Fittipaldi

Anyone get a headcount as the bikes went by? I think there’s a video on the Facebook group. Looked like a good. 150-200 but I could be off. Def at least 100.